This is the third part of my “The Newest Ducklings” series on the 2012 draftees by the Anaheim Ducks. The first part was on D Jaycob Megna and the second part was on D Kenton Helgesen. The Ducks used their pick before the Helgesen selection on defenseman Brian Cooper.
Brian Cooper is an 18-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska. He was born November 1, 1993 and shoots left-handed. He is listed at 5’10”-180 lbs. The Ducks selected him in the fifth round, 127th overall. The Ducks did not have a sixth round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Cooper has spent the last three seasons with the Fargo Force of the USHL. In his rookie campaign, 2009-2010, Cooper recorded 3 goals and 10 assists for 13 points in 55 games played. He also tallied 69 PIM and was a +7 for the season. That year was the furthest the Force made it through the USHL playoffs, Cooper had just 4 assists and 22 PIM in 13 games played. His next season has been arguable his best. In four fewer games played, 51, Cooper registered career highs in goals (11), assists (22), points (33) and PIM (132). This past season, Cooper tallied 6 goals and 18 assists for 24 points in 55 games played. He also had 96 PIM and set a career high in plus/minus with +16.
All reports say that the Ducks got a fierce competitor in Cooper. NHL.com wrote a story on the incredible player/person that Brian Cooper has grown into. He has both defensive and offensive smarts with upside all-around. One NHL scout had this to say on Cooper:
“Brian’s a gamer. Brian’s a no-nonsense, game-on-the-line, all-out every shift, antagonistic player. He plays with an edge for his size, but with his speed, puck skills, gamesmanship and hockey sense, he’s just got it all. He just wants it so bad.”
He really enjoys the physical aspect of the game. Whether it’s dropping the gloves or coming across the blue line for a body check, Cooper is a punishing little guy. Since he doesn’t have great size, he will use whatever he can to make a play defensively. He has a pretty healthy shot from the blue line that he also uses smartly. He tries to model his game after his favorite player, former New Jersey Devils captain Scott Stevens. Scouts have compared him to defenseman John-Michael Liles and Kevin Shattenkirk, but with a little bit of Darius Kasparaitis and Keith Ballard. He will need a few years to bulk up a little more and he will get that chance when he enrolls to the University of Nebraska-Omaha this fall where he will join fellow Ducks 2012 draftee D Jaycob Megna. He can develop into a solid second-pairing physical defenseman.
Next up is defenseman Andrew O’Brien.
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